“We don’t know whether the pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan or evolved naturally,” said Paul, a medical doctor. “While Washington bureaucrats deny funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, experts believe otherwise. My amendment will ensure that this never happens in the future.”
Gain-of-function research structurally alters microorganisms, like viruses, and changes their ability to cause disease in humans and the severity of the disease.
Paul introduced the amendment because Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, blatantly lied about operations at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Paul asked Fauci whether he thinks the National Institutes of Health should continue its taxpayer-supported funding for gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
Fauci said NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Paul located NIH- and NIAID-funded studies that used gain-of-function research.
MIT biologist Kevin Esvelt concluded that “certain techniques that the researchers used seemed to meet the definition of gain-of-function.”
“Many of these scientists have also discussed the inherent dangers of conducting gain-of-function research and the risks it poses to the human population,” according to Paul’s press release.
Despite Fauci’s false assertion that the federal bureaucracy has not funded gain-of-function research, he did admit that he does not know about China’s research in Wuhan.
“I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China,” he said.
Fauci could not affirm or deny the claim that COVID-19 emerged from a laboratory after scientists manipulated the structure of the virus.
Numerous Republican Senators sent a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in which they asked him to describe the institute’s funding for gain-of-function research and its decision to put a moratorium on that funding in 2014 due to safety concerns.
“One of the notable NIH-funded studies that was already underway prior to the funding moratorium was Dr. Ralph Baric’s work on a ‘lab-made coronavirus related to SARS,’ the group wrote in the letter. “In this 2015 study, researchers reportedly created a chimeric virus ‘related to SARS [that] can infect human cells.'”